Red Sox, Celtics and Pride Week in Boston

Jason Collins spent time last season with the Boston Celtics (and he might be back next season) before he came out in a now famous Sports Illustrated story.  Last night Collins helped the Red Sox celebrate Pride Night by throwing out the first pitch to Manager John Farrell.  It should be noted that managers rarely do this.

The Boston Globe ran this story from the Associate Press

The 7-foot center was greeted with a nice applause when the PA announcer read the opening of the SI article: ‘‘I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.’’

Wearing a Red Sox jersey with the No. 98 on the back, Collins threw out the first pitch to Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz feels everyone should support each other based on how they act.

‘‘Nobody knows what is perfect and what is not,’’ Ortiz said, sitting at his locker about three hours before the game. ‘‘If you are respectful and you do what you’re supposed to do, it doesn’t matter what you are and what you come from, people should respect you and love you the same way.’’

Collins wears 98 on his jerseys to honor Matthew Shepard who was killed in 1998, a decision welcomed by Shepard’s parents.

2015 Pride Night at Fenway

2015 Pride Night at Fenway

Hey Danny and Doc, bring him back to the Celtics!

By the way, the Sox won on a walk-off 3 run homer by – David Ortiz.

Photograph Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Snowy Boston – Updated

 

Updated 2-3-2011: 

Here is the new Shaq-o-meter with the addition of Nate Robinson who is buried after yesterday’s snow, sheet, rain mix.

http://www.boston.com/news/weather/graphics/2011_snowfall/?p1=News_links

So how much snow is there?  We have piles at corners.  Snow is taking up a travel lane on many streets where the piles are now extending out into the parking spaces forcing cars to park in the right hand travel lane.  I’m waiting for the day when we have single lane roads and cars yield to each other.  Walking is difficult.  Where the sidewalks are cleared, one can walk, but beware when you have to cross a street.  No wonder people are walking in the streets!

Boston is now at 60.3 inches for the season and counting.  Nothing to do but to have some fun with it all.

We measure the snow level against Shaquille O’Neal.  http://www.boston.com/news/weather/graphics/2011_snowfall/?p1=News_links

In 1995-1996, I think we used Robert Parrish.

And we save our precious parking spaces.  As removed snow takes up more and more space this becomes more and more critical.  Yes, we all know that we technically have 48 hours after the last snowfall before the space saver is in danger of removal and we all know of the person who saves their space long after any trace of snow has disappeared, but right now it is a matter of survival to save the space in front of the house.  It is so bad, I had to tell my sister she had to find somewhere else to stay this weekend because there was no parking for her car.

Boston parking-spot savers

I think this person is cheating because they really didn’t clear the space, but then look at the mound behind the chair.

It is supposed to snow a couple of inches tonight and maybe more next Wednesday.  Shaq is going to be buried before winter ends.

World Series

So the Phillies are off to a good start and I’ll be pulling for Pedro (the former Red Sox ace) to help the Phillies win tonight.  There is a theory that Sox fans are watching the series hoping that the Phillies can beat the Yankees, that if the Phillies were playing the Angels we wouldn’t care so much.  Could be true.  But as Tony Mazzarotti wrote in today’s Boston Globe

The transformation of Rasheed Wallace is complete, the enemy of the people now serving as the man of the hour. As seamlessly as Wallace has joined the Celtics on the floor this season, he made a similarly fluid entry last night in his first home game at TD Garden.

In Boston, Rasheed now dresses in white.

“I didn’t know if the fans wanted to keep it personal and still call me those names or what,” Wallace mused in the wake of the Celtics’ 92-59 annihilation of the outmanned, overmatched and outclassed Charlotte Bobcats. “It was cool though.”

Cool, indeed. Cool as Wallace entered the game to chants of Sheeeeeeeeeeeeed with 4:06 remaining in the first quarter, cool as Wallace drilled his first two shots, both 3–pointers, helping the Celtics build a 22-11 lead in the opening quarter. Cool even as Wallace dressed in front of his locker following the game, when he donned a black sweat jacket bearing the name and logo of the Philadelphia Phillies, as sure a sign as any that he has embraced Boston as firmly as Boston already has embraced him.

‘Sheed, it seems, plays by the same rules many of you do. If he is not necessarily rooting for the Red Sox, he is at least rooting for whoever is playing the Yankees.

The Celtics, by the way, are 2-0.

So to Red Sox fans, the New York Yankees are still the evil empire.

But why is today October 29 and just the 2nd game of the Series is being played tonight?  The answer is in provided by Tyler Kepner in a New York Times story from last Sunday.  Some of the reasons are:

¶When baseball scheduled the World Baseball Classic for March 2009, the players wanted two more weeks of spring training games after its conclusion. So pushing the Classic later would have further delayed the start of the regular season, and the players would not have been ready if it had started sooner.

¶The calendar did not help. Except for the Sunday night opener, the schedule always begins on a Monday, and the first Monday of April 2009 was the sixth. Teams do not want to start the season with a weekend series, because they already draw well on weekends. Opening on a Monday allows teams to sell out a weekday game that would otherwise be a hard sell.

¶The idea of starting the regular season in late March and playing only in warm-weather cities and domes is considered too problematic to be realistic. If both teams in New York and Chicago open on the road, that means overlapping home dates later. And the teams in warm-weather cities and domes would complain about losing dates for later in the season, when they can sell more tickets than they can in late March and early April.

¶The idea of shortening the regular season from 162 games is unrealistic, because teams would not willingly give away moneymaking home dates.

So you have a combination of greed and the quirks of the calendar that will have fans in New York and Philadelphia freezing in their seats.  And another thing:  Why no day games?

Red Sox, Celtics, and yes, the Bruins

Mr. President.  I know you took Michelle out for date night early last night and hustled home to watch the Bulls play for the Celtics.  Unfortunately, the Celtics won.  Don’t mean to crow, but even with Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe out with injuries, the Celtics are a better team.  I’m not saying they are going to repeat or anything – not yet – but give them credit for hanging tough.  It was the end of a great series. 

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, date

Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images President and Michelle Obama stroll on the White House lawn after going out to dinner in Washington on Saturday night.

This from the New York Times

With the Celtics leading by 100-95 with 1 minute 5 seconds remaining, Gordon missed a runner and Joakim Noah fouled out chasing the loose ball. That sent Pierce to the line, where he made both free throws. When Ray Allen scored on a breakaway layup, the victory and the series were finally secure.

The win came in traditional Celtics form. Five players scored in double digits, paced by 23 points from Ray Allen. House, a wild card in the series, did not gain traction until Saturday, when he scored 16 points. He earned a technical foul after one 3-pointer when he turned to the Bulls’ bench and yelled, “I’ve been there before.”

House’s previous high in the series was 8 points, and Rivers was hesitant to give him steady minutes against Chicago’s potent perimeter players.

On Saturday, he was part of a Celtics bench that redeemed itself after being blitzed by Chicago’s throughout the series. They outscored the Bulls’ bench by 30-25. Scalabrine was the Celtics’ leading scorer through the first 15 minutes of the game. Pushed by Davis and Perkins, the Celtics outscored the Bulls’ in the paint, 44-18.

Dan Shaunghnessy wrote in the Boston Globe

It ended at 11:03 p.m. with House tossing the ball high above courtside in the general direction of the 1968 championship banner.

So what did we learn from these seven games spaced over 15 days?

We learned that the Celtics are worthy champions. With Garnett sidelined and Leon Powe KO’d in Game 1, the 2009 playoffs have the feel of a Quixotic quest, but that has not deterred the C’s. We all know that the conference finals are going through LeBrontown this year and the Cavaliers look unbeatable. But the Celtics refuse to die.

First the Celtics have to get through the Magic.  And speaking of Florida teams,  the Red Sox finally managed to win a game at Tropicana Field last night.  From Amalie Benjamin’s story in the Sunday Globe

Having started out the series by being outscored, 19-2, over two games, that 11-game winning streak seemed a distant memory, until the Sox’ bats burst out with an early uprising last night, holding on to win, 10-6, in front of 34,910.

So it was a two team win night for Boston.  The Bruins ( have to admit I know little about hockey and don’t follow it) had the night off in their second round playoff series.  If the Celtics and the Bruins keep winning, that crew at the Garden will be mighty busy.

John Powers a Globe Columnist wrote on April 14

Boston hasn’t had such a promising sports year since 1986, when the Patriots played in the Super Bowl, the Red Sox won the pennant, and the Celtics captured the crown….

This time, though, the city’s four major professional teams could pull off an unprecedented sports slam. Besides the Celtics and Bruins, who both begin their playoffs at home this week, the Sox have a good chance to return to the World Series, which they missed by one win last season. And the Patriots, with quarterback Tom Brady newly wed and rehabbed, figure to make the playoffs for the seventh time in nine years.

But, Boston, I think we may be getting ahead of ourselves.

Gerald Henderson the Elder

Gerald Henderson a native of Richmond Virginia played for Virginia Commonweath University.  I watched him play for VCU, and even worked out at the same gym.  (back then it was a Nautillus Club and there were only a couple in the Richmond area so lots of people were members.)  We were all excited when he was drafted in 1978 and in my family at least, we were most excited when he started playing for the Boston Celtics.

Today, his son, Gerald, plays for Duke as a key player in their NCAA tournament run.  This weekend the Hendersons return to Boston: Gerald the Elder to revisit the town where he made his most famous play and Gerald the Younger to try to lead Duke into the Round of eight – and maybe the final four.  All this will take place in the building that is often referred to as the New Garden, the real Boston Garden long torn down to make way for an area that has changed names multiple times.  The New York Times has an interesting article about father and son.

Twenty-five years after Gerald Henderson stole the ball, his son of the same name is going to Boston, scene of the crime.

What was that crime?

Go back to May 31, 1984, Game 2 of the N.B.A. finals, the Celtics facing the unthinkable prospect of losing the first two games at home to Magic Johnson and the Lakers. With 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Lakers had a 2-point lead and the ball in the backcourt.

Henderson is a little fuzzy on whom he was supposed to guard, on what exactly came next, but he will never forget James Worthy, after taking a pass from Magic, floating one to the right side, toward Byron Scott.

For years, Scott would rue his rookie mistake of not moving to the ball, of letting it come to him. Henderson seized his parquet moment, angling in for the interception, deflecting the ball with his left hand, soaring to the basket to lay it in.

Resuscitated, the Celtics won in overtime, 124-121. The series would end with Magic overdribbling the Lakers into a Game 7 defeat in Boston, where Bird’s triumph over Johnson was illuminated like a darkened Garden full of victory cigars.

The son, who bears a striking facial resemblance to his father, goes to Boston in the 25th anniversary year. Maybe he celebrates by stealing the show.

Of course, I didn’t pick Duke to get to the final four, but they are an ACC team and even if they mess up my bracket I won’t be too unhappy is Gerald the Younger leads them to an upset of Pittsburg.

Signs that Spring is coming

Yesterday, the Red Sox played their first exhibition games beating Boston College and losing to Minnesota.  Spring is just around the corner even though it was cold and blustery in Boston.  The big controversy seems to be whether the thrill of the Sox has worn off or not.  Exhibit A:  There are a few tickets left for a hand full of games in April and May.  As many of the bloggers pointed out, this has much to do with the state of the economy and little to do with becoming jaded about the Sox.  See Mazz’s Blog in Boston.com.

Meanwhile someone at work mentioned March Madness for the first time in a year.  My favorite league, the ACC, is busy with teams knocking each other off.  Question:  how do you maintain a high national ranking when everyone knows you will lose games in your league?  But, the North Carolina Tar Heels should, barring disaster in the ACC Tournament, get a number one seed.

The Boston Celtics are also readying themselves for the playoffs.  (Even as they lost last night to the Clippers, who are, I think the worst team in the NBA, in a close one.)  It looks as if they will be signing Stephon Marbury – maybe today.  I haven’t decided if that is good or bad.   Marc J. Spears wrote in the Boston Globe

Marbury  fell into the doghouse of then-Knicks coach Isiah Thomas during the 2007-08 season. With Thomas gone, new Knicks president Donnie Walsh and new coach Mike D’Antoni preferred a new script without Marbury last offseason. After being suspended from the team for allegedly refusing to play in a game, Marbury was outspoken about his disappointment. He eventually worked out a buyout Tuesday.

I’m sure there will be more on Marbury in the next few days.